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Powersports Dealers: New Data on Texting and Why Customers Prefer It

Dealer Webinar
8 min. read

[Webinar Transcript from June 2022]

Hello everyone, thanks for joining us today. My name is Ben, I'm on the marketing team here at Kenect. Today, we're going to talk about some new data on texting and show you why customers are preferring it. We'll show you some of the data we've collected from our own dealers that use us, and then also in general, and why texting is becoming the preferred form of communication. We're going to talk about Kenect for about 5 minutes, and then get into the meat of the webinar, shouldn't be more than about 20 minutes total, don't want to take up too much of your time. And then, if you have any questions, please feel free to type in the questions tab over on the side panel there, and we'll get to them throughout this webinar, or for sure at the end, when there's more time. So with that, let's get started here.

Who is Kenect?

We're based on the Silicon Slopes of Utah, that's just outside Salt Lake City. We're a text messaging platform for Powersports Dealers throughout North America, and we were founded by dealers and built for dealers. So we help you communicate more efficiently, generate new leads, collect payments via text message, and drive online reviews. So how do we do it? 2-way text messaging from your dealership without giving out your personal cell number. So this platform is done through your existing business line. So that business line that people have been calling in, we just add texting to it, add the platform to it. It's another option for your customers to contact you, and another way for them to reach you. We do web leads straight from your website with a little “Text Us” button that we add at the bottom of the page there, and then collect payments via text message, and then online review generation, and reputation management.

So why text messaging? Because your customers prefer it. 89% of consumers say they would prefer to interact with businesses via text message rather than a phone call, and 98% of text messages are open, with 95% of those read within three minutes. So you're going to get responses faster, and you're going to get information out to customers faster. This is the way that they would like to be interacted with. So texting versus calling is the key here because customers are preferring it. 96% of consumers find phone calls to be disruptive, and 78% of US consumers say receiving a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important service updates and purchases. So this is from one of the customers that uses us. “We used to call customers, but 75% of the time they wouldn't answer. So now we text them with Kenect and they immediately text us back.”

So, when they do text back, what does it look like? This is the inbox, looks similar to an email layout, but you can see the numbers over there on the side. And then, as people text in, you can add names to the numbers, so you can put them in your contacts list. And then if they text in with more questions or anything in the future, you can have them in your Rolodex, in your contact list. So you can see that you can look at every conversation that this person has had with the business, and then you can also see where the conversation's left off. You can also assign employees to each customer, so each customer would be able to interact with a personal employee that's there, just waiting for their contacts and anything. And you can decide who has access to this platform. So any employee that you have can access this right from the computer or on the mobile device.

So, this is a free app in the App Store. You can have customers text in, obviously, and it'll show up like this, similar look to an email layout, of course, but with this on the phone, you can use your camera for photos, you can do video chats, you can do quick replies, anything like that. So especially in your service bay, this is key here because you can actually walk around the piece of equipment, you can show them what's going on, and then you can also send pictures back and forth if there's any question as to what's being worked on, or what's being done, and then it can be anywhere. You can be in and out of the showroom, you can be in and out of the service bay. And as long as you have a signal, you can reply to customers. You can be at lunch, and you're just sitting there, and you see a text pop up in the platform and you can respond right away to make sure that the customer gets the answer they're looking for.

You're getting responses back to customers quicker, you're not playing phone tag, and it's what customers are expecting now because they've seen texting, and they know that texting is part of what dealers and businesses are using. So the top seven ways that Powersports Dealers use Kenect, scheduling appointments, setting automated reminders, and sending status updates. You can send it quick information like hours maps or 'Your equipment is ready for pickup', send targeted warranty reminders, and schedule maintenance notices, you can also collect payments via text message, which we'll get into in just a few minutes, attach and send photos, videos, invoices, and PDFs. Those can be bills, and those can be pictures of things that you're working on. Generate online reviews on Google and Facebook, capture more leads from Facebook, Instagram, and your website.

More customers are texting businesses

So, what we wanted to talk about today is texting. Customers are texting more. We've seen it, and we've seen the trend go up. And especially in the last couple years. According to Pew Research, 81% of Americans now own a smartphone. That's around 300 million people in the US that have a smartphone. And 78% of buyers say checking, sending, and answering text messages is the primary way they use their phones. So what we're seeing here is the trend of people using smartphones, using texting, they've seen texting gain popularity, and once they started using texting, they are using it more and more because they're realizing that it's the primary way that they use their phone. 61% of people admit to spending more time texting daily since 2020, that's because the pandemic has forced them to limit their imprints and interactions, and they've been texting back and forth more and more.

And calls, obviously people have been calling, but they've realized the texting is easier, texting is quicker to get replies from. We just showed you the data, that 95% of texts are read within three minutes. That's just because it's there on your phone. It pops up, people see it, they know that you're getting responses back faster, so it's key here to text, not call. And some of the data that we have from locations that we have, we've seen a 55% increase in text message volume per dealer year over year. And what we're also seeing is dealers are now completing entire transactions via text, sales and service, and all of that's new. And this is just a trend in the last couple of years. We've seen this really just explode throughout the pandemic, in the height of the pandemic it went up. But we really haven't seen a trend downward, it's always been trending upwards because more and more people are using texting. And they're also realizing how easy and convenient it is, especially if you're texting from the comfort of your own home, or if you're filling out texting payments options right from your own phone, you're paying for something without having to go in, that's easy to do.

Customers are using texting, they've seen it, they know dealers are using it, so they're adding, texting to their smartphones, and they're using smartphones more often. 80% increase in MMS message volume per dealer year over year, so we're seeing a lot more messages with images sent back and forth. This is something that we probably didn't even see just five years ago. Some dealers are probably just wondering, maybe we add texts, but now we're seeing full on images sent back and forth from the from customer to dealer because they're showing them what they have in stock, they're showing them what they're doing in the service bay, what they're working on, so it's easy.

And when pictures are sent back and forth, it usually indicates a service upsell or a serious sales engagement. Because if you're able to send people pictures rather than just describe it over the phone, you're able to show them exactly what you're talking about. And maybe they've texted in and they say, "I want this piece of equipment. Do you have it in stock?" You could say, "Sure, I do. But I also have this piece of equipment that's slightly more expensive and a little newer. Here's a picture of it, you can see what's going on," and there's your sales upsell because you're going to see the customer's going to actually look at things that are more expensive, but they're also going to see your stock because you're able to show it to them. You can even do video chat and show them around the showroom without them actually being there. So all of this is key when it comes to texting, it's something we hadn't really thought about. And a lot of dealers hadn't thought about it in the last few years, but now it's becoming a trend, especially during the pandemic.

Using broadcast messaging in your dealership

What we've also noticed is as more people are texting back and forth, dealers are asking for a way to text people in a group rather than individual. That also cuts down on time. So we've added broadcast messaging. This is key here, especially when you're having to text people about service updates or you're having to text people about hours changes, or maybe even sales that you have. This is a way to get a message out to a group of people within your contacts rather than just sending those individual texts out. You can schedule a message or send one right away, you can also quickly filter broadcast message based on scheduled or sent, right from that inbox that I showed you.

So this is what it looks like, you click on the button over there, you add a new broadcast message, you give it a name, and then you pick your recipient group. And these are groups that you've picked out of your contacts list. In this case, we're talking about winterization, could be spring service, could be anything. You pick that group of contacts out of that contacts group that you want to send to. In this case, this is about 300. But then you click them, you fill out the message and then whatever you'd like it to say. In this case, it's asking people to schedule a maintenance, click on the link to set a schedule, and then you hit send, and then it'll show you how many people you're actually sending to, and how many remaining people you could send to if you needed to out of your contacts list. Get it approved, send it off, and then the customer gets this and it's ready to go. So this is just for winterization, of course, but you can use this in any variety of ways. Especially if you're dealing with staffing issues, or you're dealing with supply issues, you want to make sure you're getting this out to customers as fast as possible.

And you don't want to do individual texts if you have 20 people coming in that week, or you have 50 people coming in that week, and you're adjusting your hours, you want to make sure that you're telling people, "Hey, we're adjusting our hours because of staffing." People understand, but we want to make sure that you're getting the max out of these texts to make sure that you're not wasting customers' time, or you're not wasting your time. Especially if you're not open, you don't want them to come by when you're having to close because of certain staffing issues. You can also send this out in newsletters, if you'd like. Or if you have sales and that kind of thing, broadcast messaging is key here. So it's about creating a texting plan, and I'm sure some of you have probably thought about texting and what you want to do, and how this platform would work. But it's key to create a plan, especially when you're starting something new.

So set expectations about communication with employees and customers, try developing solutions like standardizing workloads, and then push back deadlines that are urgent, focus on keeping service and sales running smoothly. Again, this doesn't have to last very long, but if you're starting a texting plan, you want to make sure everybody's on the same page. You're automating certain tasks, you're changing the way things look, so you want to make sure that your customers know what to expect from your employees and vice versa. You want to make sure that this texting platform is easy for your employees to use and easy for your customers to use. Chances are this learning curve won't be very long. It may sound a little daunting, but I bet you that a lot of customers have already used texting in this platform in this way. And they've been texting dealers back and forth. You might have sent texts out already, but you just don't have a platform in place to respond. So this is the key here. This is the way to respond, setting up this platform through your existing business line changes the game.

Customers are turning to remote payment

Texting versus call, make sure you're texting, don't call. People don't respond to calls as much anymore, but they get back to you with text as we showed you earlier. And remote payment popularity is something that we've also seen gain momentum over the pandemic. It really hasn't stopped, customer convenience via contactless interaction. Cards aren't really going away, but will shift to remote forms of payment. So it's all about simplicity and convenience. Customers really want a way to be able to not have to interact, and especially during the pandemic, not coming into showrooms as much anymore, as I'm sure you notice. So dealers have had to find ways to be able to get customers to pay without having to hound them, or without having to give them a call, or without having to have them recite their number over the phone. They want to be able to have a way for customers to do this themselves. And customers have seen this, a remote payment option, and they've really gravitated towards it.

So here is some of the data that we've seen around text-to-pay, this is from dealers that use us. We've seen an 85% faster payment collection with text-to-pay and payment is on time nearly every time. And then this is key here, 45 minutes is the average time saved per person in the service department during the day. That's key. With just one person saving 45 minutes, you're seeing that'll add up throughout the week, that'll add up throughout the year. You're able to get more people in because you're saving time by just texting, and just using text-to-pay because people don't have to come in to the showroom, they don't have to wait around to give you their card, they don't have to wait in line. They can just do it over the phone, you send them a text, send the link, and then they send it right back to you. Some dealers are now running over 70% of service payments through text-to-pay. And this is the stat that I really found interesting, 91% of customers prefer text-to-pay when they start using it.

So maybe they hadn't used text-to-pay before, and they just were sent that link and they just filled it out and they thought, "Man, this is really convenient and really easy to use." So the customers prefer text-to-pay once they've started using it. So now that they've got a taste for it, they want to keep using this whenever they're paying for something, service or parts or anything. And this is also key because we've seen this over the pandemic, so customers have probably already seen some sort of text-to-pay system, some sort of remote way of payment, throughout their time during the pandemic, because dealers have had to find ways to have them pay without them having to come in. So customers have probably already seen this, but again, if you have this system in place, and you're not sure whether customers are going to use it, we've seen the data, 91% of customers prefer text-to-pay when they start using it.

So why text-to-pay? I don't want to go through all this, but I'll just hit on a couple. Collect on service tickets and special order parts with a 98% open rate. That's what we talked about a little earlier. And then you can also allow for after-hours pickups and remote drop-offs by collecting pre-payments. So if you're in your service bay, and you text the customer saying, "I'm about an hour away from being done, here's the link to text-to-payment, and you can fill out the information and send it back to me. And then I'll meet you outside in an hour." That's easy. It doesn't fill up your service bay because you're able to tell the customer to prepay, and you're able to pull it out of the service bay, and get it ready for the customer to come and pick it up. And it also allows them to not even have to step foot inside the service bay. They can just wait outside, and you're ready and with their equipment, and they're ready to go.

You also get paid faster and reduce accounts receivable. This reduces accounts receivable from both the customer and employee side. So say your employee's spending about a week on accounts receivable, that kind of thing, when it all adds up, that's going to cut down their time significantly because the customer's filling out all this information themselves. All they need to do is text with reminders, text with links. They can even text invoices and that kind of thing, to make sure that the customer knows what they're paying for so there's no mystery there. But then you're saving time for that employee, and you're able to use the employee in other areas. We know that people have been dealing with staffing issues, so the way to maximize the staff is key here. So if you're reducing that time that they're spending on accounts receivable, you can use them in other areas to help with sales or help with service. And also, this is 100% secure and with next-day funding.

We wanted to show you what this looked like when you're actually sending a payment link to them. So this is the payment request that you fill out with the amount, the invoice number, and then the description of what it is. And then the customer will click on the link, and here's what it looks like for them, and they'll complete this transaction. So they'll fill out the number, they'll fill out their name and all the pertinent information, and they don't have to do it over the phone. They don't have to come in and swipe, they can just send this, write this down or type it in, and send it right back. And then also, the logo at the top can be interchangeable. So you can change that logo to whatever logo you'd like for your business. And then the customer can see that and see that it's from you. And you can even say, "You'll know this link is from us because it'll have our logo at the top, and then it'll have the description of what you paid for it." It builds that trust and makes sure that customer knows who they're sending this to, and that they trust that filling this out and sending it back will get to you.

We also really wanted to hit on some locations with text-to-pay, because we've seen this growth over the last two years. This graph is from April 2020 to March of 2022, and we've seen 1,600+ locations now using text-to-pay on a regular basis. And this continued growth is expected. We really haven't seen a slowdown at all, as soon they this started using this platform. And really, this is the start of the pandemic. So we've seen this growth through the pandemic, 1,600+ locations added, that are now using text-to-pay on a regular basis. And then the key here is also about revenue and volume. We've seen 15 times growth per month in just two years, again, same timeframe, but more than $14.5 million through text-to-pay in March of 2022. That's just for that month. So it's not exponential, it's not compounded as we go through it, that is just for that month.

And we've seen that growth really explode. You've seen it start down here about a million dollars in April of 2020, and then it's just grown from there. And this is what I mean by people using text-to-pay and are actually familiar with text-to-pay. So you can see as the pandemic wears on, more people are using text-to-pay because they have to, they have to use some form of payment, and a way for customers to pay without having to come in. So we've seen that growth. And then we've seen it uptick in the latter part of 2022, and we really haven't seen any downturn in it. People have still used it, dealers are still using this. It's not something we probably thought about in the last five years, but it is something that customers are gravitating towards. So you want to be able to meet them where they want to be. So the importance of convenience here, we just wanted to hit on this.

Purchase intent versus asking questions, 90% of decisions are made before they come in or call. So what that means for you is to make sure that you are making the process as easy as possible for the customer. Customers are buying independent of discounts, but what you could do is make sure that you show them what you're talking about, you can send them pictures via text, you can do all of that to show them exactly what they're looking at. So when there's a question about a certain piece of equipment or anything like that, you want to make sure that you are giving them the best quote and you're giving them the best experience with communication, to make sure that they are getting all of their questions answered. It's digital across the entire funnel, which means that less than a third of young consumers prefer to conduct sales in person at a dealership. And respondents are even more interested in contactless services.

We’ve seen more people using contactless services. And again, this is less than a third of young consumers, but as we've showed you earlier, more people are buying smartphones and that's across generations, 300 million Americans use smartphones and texting. So that's key. And that's because it's not just young consumers that are, that are preferring this, we're seeing that trend grow because we're seeing more customers use texting and we're seeing more customers prefer to not have to use phone calls or have to come into showrooms to pay for things, or to buy things, they're realizing they can do it all over the phone. And it's really about convenience and simplicity. So it's really because customers, they've seen how easy it is. They can do it on their lunch break, they can take five minutes and pay for something that they wanted, that they've already looked up online and figured it out. So they're buying independent of discounts. They know what they want already. So you're just making this process as simple as it can be for them.

The six benefits of texting, generating more leads via website widget, that's a little Text Us button that we can add to your website. You can generate dozens of five-star reviews and stand out online. Using video chat in sales and service for more effective communication, collect deposits and payments from sales and service via text message, you can also save time and sell more by sending photos, videos, and surveys, and then text from your existing business line instead of your personal cell phone. So again, this platform is done all through your existing business line, it's that number that your customers already know. So it's something that's easy and convenient for them, and easy and convenient for you, because you can just send them that number and say, "Go ahead and text us. We have the platform, we can respond to you now, we have this tool and this feature." It's just another way for them to reach you and another way for you to get that sale and make sure you don't miss out.

If you have any questions or want a free demo, please text us 888-972-7422. This is a way for you to see how this platform would look for your business, what features can be added to it, what features that you might want. So you can get all your questions answered, we can show you how easy it is and what the setup would look like. I know some of that's kind of up in the air for some people sometimes, but it's really easy setup and really convenient, doesn't take very long. So making sure that you are getting the most out of this demo and getting the most questions answered that you can.

Thank you so much, really appreciate it.

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